How to Do Hanging Power Cleans for Muscle Definition


Today I’m going to talk about a really versatile exercise called Hanging Power Cleans. Some people call them hanging clean, cleans from dead hang, etc.

One Barbell Circuit Workout

You can use this lift to burn fat at the end of a workout, increase athletic ability, or gain incredible definition in your, back shoulders, and arms.

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Hanging Power Cleans Will Help You Burn Bodyfat

Before I get into the movement, I wanted to let people know that this isn’t just a performance lift for athletes.

Also, it isn’t a lift for men only.

Women will get a lot out of this lift too.

I wanted to mention the ability of the exercise to help “burn body fat” because I know that is a common goal.

I didn’t want people to click away from the post thinking that it didn’t apply to them.

The Proper Form Demonstrated on Video

This is one of those lifts that is much easier shown than explained with words. Thank god for online video.

This video does a great job at demonstrating the proper form of a Hanging Power Clean. Roll the video…

[Watch this video a few times. This guy does a wonderful job explaining the form of this technical lift.]

Hanging Power Cleans a Quick Lift that is Beneficial

Most of the lifting I recommend on this site is slow and controlled. I have found that when you lift slowly, you are “mastering a weight” by generating stronger muscle contractions.

This is a safe and predictable way to gain strength and definition in a muscle.

That being said, certain “quick lifts” like the hanging power clean have some benefits as well.

Quick Lifts – Moving at The Speed of Your Sport

The reason quick lifts like the hanging power clean are effective for athletes is that most sports move at a quick pace.

When I was a high jumper back in high school, we use hanging power cleans as a way to improve our vertical leap.

The lift mimicked jumping, but with a bit of resistance.

The nice thing was that my coach understood that lifting volume needed to be kept low and only wanted us to do this lift for 5 sets of 5 just one time per week.

You don’t want to add excess mass if you are trying to improve vertical leap.

Hanging Power Cleans – How Many Reps?

Reminder, the bodybuilding (muscle building) range is typically in the 6-12 rep range. This is what most mainstream fitness and bodybuilding magazines recommend.

They mistakenly assume that everyone reading those magazines wants to build muscle.

Obviously, there are more variables involved to build muscle than just lifting for 6-12 reps, but to be safe (especially for most women) I would shy away from lifting in this range.

Stick to 3-5 reps for tone and density…

…or 15-20 reps with a short rest in between for fat loss (basically an HIIT-type workout with weights).

Hanging Power Cleans for Density and Power

I don’t recommend doing heavy hanging power cleans more than once per week.

A good way to incorporate it into your routine is to do it “every other” back and chest day.

It sounds weird, but I like to do these on my back and chest day after doing interval cardio.

My joints and muscles seem to be at their best. I also seem to be a bit stronger after HIIT for a small window of time.

Hanging Power Cleans for Fat Burning

If you do hanging power cleans in a high-rep range, with little rest in between…you are basically mimicking an intense HIIT session.

You will jack up your metabolism like crazy and as a result, burn body fat long after the workout is over.

Pick a pretty light weight that you can do 30 reps with and try to do 5-8 sets of 15 reps. The key is to just rest 30-60 seconds in between sets. Start with 60 seconds for your first few times.

By your last 2 sets, you should be breathing pretty darn hard and those 60 seconds of rest will seem like 10 seconds.

When to Do the Fat Burning Cleans

You can be pretty darn flexible if you chose to do hanging power cleans for fat burning.

I like to substitute these for HIIT at the end of my workout or do them after a tough HIIT treadmill workout.

Some Added Benefits of Hanging Power Cleans

A big side benefit of hanging power cleans is how they greatly improve grip strength. You will also find that it firms up your entire body.

It is a lift that virtually requires the coordination of every muscle in the body.

Over time it will add density to your entire body but focuses this on the shoulders arms and back.

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For 15 years I've helped fashion models get lean for photoshoots. Use my plan to Lose 5-10 pounds of PURE body fat in 14 days.

Note: Again, be careful with this exercise. Start with light weights and work your way up. If you have access to a knowledgeable Strength and Conditioning coach, then have them critique your form.


-Rusty Moore

As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.

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